Thursday, June 06, 2013

Release: Mursau, Swearingen Secure Federal Funding for Northern Schools

June 5, 2013


CONTACT:        Rep. Jeff Mursau (888) 534-0036 http://Mursau.Assembly.Wisconsin.Gov

    Madison … The Wisconsin Joint Finance Committee voted Tuesday to approve a school funding proposal by Representative Jeff Mursau (R – Crivitz) and Representative Rob Swearingen (R – Rhinelander) to provide increased funding for school districts in the Chequamegon-Nicolet national forest. The proposal would annually send 25% of US timber sales in the forest to area schools.
    “Over 1.5 million acres of northern Wisconsin are federal forest and unavailable to fund our schools,” Mursau said. “The least we can do is use timber sale income to educate our kids, keep schools open, and keep local employees close to both their workplace and their kid’s schools.”

    Under current law, Wisconsin sends national forest income to local townships. Under Mursau and Swearingen’s proposal, town governments will be held whole by a proportional increase in federal payments-in-lieu-of-taxes on a per acre basis.
     “Our large northern schools have long bus routes, low population density, less property base and all the same education requirements as the rest of Wisconsin schools,” Swearingen said. “National forest income will give our kids the resources they need to stay academically competitive with the rest of Wisconsin and the nation.”

    The Joint Finance Committee is expected to finalize its deliberations this week. The Wisconsin State Legislature expects to finalize all components of the state biennial budget, including national forest income for schools, before June 30th.

School District Name    Federal Forest Acreage  Estimated Annual Payment       
172,324  $                                         352,400     
Florence County
85,175   $                                         137,700     
Goodman-Armstrong Creek
8,558    $                                            17,500   
Lac Du Flambeau #1     
6,487    $                                               9,700 
65,462   $                                         133,700     
Northland Pines
10,128   $                                            16,000   
37,950   $                                            60,000   
Suring Public  
82,648   $                                         132,000     
Three Lakes    
17,277   $                                            27,100   
Wabeno Area    
147,073  $                                         276,400     
White Lake     
37,378   $                                            70,800   

    Source: Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau


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